Nestled under steep, dramatic hills between Napier and Wairoa is Tūtira Regional Park, bordering twin lakes - Tūtira and Waikopirō. The park is a land use demonstration area, has walking tracks, and a basic camping ground $5 a day.
The park has an important function as a land use demonstration area. Many of the trees were planted by school students, community groups, organisations, and the Regional Council staff volunteers.
It is also a recreation space and a handy base to explore Tūtira-Maungaharuru district's many adventure and recreation opportunities. This park is not suitable for dogs.
Across the lake is the historic Guthrie-Smith Trust homestead, education centre and an arboretum of 20,000 trees.
Explore Tūtira Regional Park in full 360 degrees here (courtesy of Tim Whittaker Photographer)
Look for the Hawke's Bay Regional Parks and Open Spaces brochure at i-sites and other visitor centres.
Off State Highway 2, 41km north of Napier and 77 km south of Wairoa. Access is through the gates, through the DOC wildlife reserve, across the causeway between the two lakes and follow the track until the signposted gate entrance to the park. Camping entry to the right. Tūtira is on the Napier-Wairoa Heritage Trail.
See Google map below.
Tūtira Regional Park is part of a developing tourism area of the Tūtira-Maungahururu district, which local people are promoting as a great adventure recreation area. From here you can explore:
Camping - Short-term camping only is available within the park in a flat, fenced and tree-lined paddock area that is suitable for tents, campervans, caravans. Compost toilets and cold water taps only (no kitchen or showers). Tūtira Store a few kilometres north on SH2 has supplies. Please take away your own rubbish. Koha/donations of $5 per adult per night donation would be appreciated to help with operating costs for the toilet blocks and water supply. Donation boxes are located by the toilet near the main road and by the big sign on the eastern lake side.
Swimming/boating - As algal blooms can affect human health, when they are present (generally summer) the lake water is not suitable for swimming, boating or fishing. Please take note of signs posted around the lake about water quality.
- the Regional Council and NIWA have a monitoring buoy on Lake Tutira above one of the deeper parts (42m) for a long term study of the lake. The buoy measures dissolved oxygen, chlorophyll, water temperature and turbidity.
Algal blooms - Data from the buoy also helps the Regional Council scientists investigation the causes of algal blooms which regularly impact the lake in summer. Algae is naturally present in fresh water but in warmer conditions there can be a population explosion which turns the lake water green and produces an odour. The Regional Council is working with the lake bed owner, Maungaharuru-Tangitū Trust, and other organisations to find solutions to the algal bloom problem. Other brown blooms are caused by microscopic animals called dinoflagellates, which are harmless. In nearby Lake Waikopirō, the Regional Council is trialling an aerator to bubble oxygen through the water and mix the water layers to reduce algal blooms.
Hydrilla Eradication - A long term programme (Ministry of Primary Industries funded) aims to eradicate the plant pest Hydrilla from the lake by using grass carp to forage the plant. The plant is now almost gone from the lake, and native milfoils are returning.
Erosion control & forestry - An erosion control and sustainable land management programme is in place in the park,managed by the Regional Council. Many of the trees in the park have been planted by community groups, school groups and the Regional Council staff volunteers. Since 2012 a mānuka block has been planted in partnership with Comvita NZ Ltd to assess the viability of producing valuable UMF mānuka honey as a sustainable land use on steep east coast hill country. Farmers and beekeepers are welcome to contact the Regional Council's land management team to arrange to view the plantation and learn about progress.
Park History - find out more about the history of the park in this book - A Short History of Tūtira Country Park by Garth Eyles, 2014. Hard copies of this book are available at the Regional Council.
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